Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing Goes High Speed

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    Judy Lott (left) and Pattie Orr (right) check out the new, faster, network connection.
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    Baylor administrators turn on the new network connection.
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    (From left to right) Scott Day, Judy Lott, Pattie orr and Bob Hartland.
Dec. 3, 2007

by Frank Raczkiewicz

With Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas located nearly 100 miles from Baylor's main Waco campus, providing a high speed optical network for education and research proved to be a challenge for Baylor and its nursing school. But thanks to a timely collaboration between Baylor, Texas A&M-Health Sciences Center, Baylor University Medical Center and the Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), Baylor has switched the School of Nursing to a new computer network, allowing for a faster internet connection at blazing 100-megabit per second speed.

The new connection, which is nearly 100 times faster than the previous capability at the nursing school, will provide more reliable video-conferencing and will allow Baylor nursing researchers to transfer large datasets to other researchers across the country in a matter of minutes, instead of hours. Nursing faculty and students also will see accelerated load times when accessing websites and on-line university services like Blackboard and Bearweb.

Baylor's main campus connected to the LEARN network in the spring of 2007 and uses it to deliver Internet2 service to campus. Baylor administrators have worked tirelessly since then to use LEARN services to upgrade the network connection at the nursing school.

"This higher speed connection will open new opportunities for our nursing faculty, staff and students," said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of University Libraries at Baylor. "We are grateful for LEARN, Texas A&M and Baylor University Medical Center for the help they all have given us to achieve such a powerful and economical connection for Baylor's School of Nursing."

LEARN, of which Baylor is a member along with more than 30 other Texas institutions, has built a 1,200-mile network across the state that provides connection points in certain cities to faster Internet speed. Baylor has used the membership with LEARN to provide transport to Dallas where they connect to the faster Internet service through an organization called the Trans-Texas Videoconference Network, which is a Texas A&M affiliate.

Since LEARN's network passes through Waco on its way to Austin, Baylor and Texas A&M University were able to form a collaboration that proved fortunate for both institutions. Texas A&M needed a connection point to LEARN for the university's medical school campus in Temple, while Baylor needed a connection point for the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas. Since Baylor's nursing school is physically close to A&M's Health Sciences Center in Dallas, Baylor was able to connect to LEARN through A&M's connection point at the Center. In return, Baylor provided a connection point for A&M's Temple campus by allowing them to connect to LEARN through Baylor's Waco campus.

"It's been one of our top goals to get higher speed access to the nursing school, and it's nice to see that goal achieved," said Bob Hartland, director of IT servers and networking services at Baylor. "This collaboration provided a more effective solution for both institutions. For Baylor, all it took was a new router and some fiber optic cable, and we saved on the monthly charges to get to the LEARN network in Dallas."

"It was like Santa came early to the nursing school," said Dr. Judy Lott, dean of Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. "It will enhance our faculty members' ability to teach and to conduct research, and, it will increase the effectiveness of the outcomes of our students. This is very positive move for us."

Also critical to the collaboration was Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Since Baylor's nursing school is located on BUMC property, BUMC had to give approval to the needed fiber optic line between the two buildings. BUMC officials consented and allowed their contractors to install the new line, providing a crucial element in making the project work.

For more information, contact Pattie Orr at (254) 710-3200 or Bob Hartland at (254) 710-4355.

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